My Experience Moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
March 5, 2018
This post is all about my recent move from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. It’s something that I did after much consideration and with a ‘few’ minor hiccups, the move is now complete with my fresher looking site! So this post is for anyone else thinking of doing the same, and wondering why and how to make the move…
Why move from .com to .org?
In summary, personally I found that I started to become a bit limited with some of the features on wordpress.com after I’d been blogging for now approaching two years. Some reasons for this were: I didn’t have detailed analytics, with getting Google analytics requiring an upgrade in plan; I didn’t have as much design control over what the site looked like and difficulty in getting my new logo and the site looking how I wanted with the themes available; I couldn’t run ads other than through WordAds (WordPress’ adsense type ad system where you share the revenue); I couldn’t have any plugins (such as ecommerce, SEO, signup forms etc) that would make my life easier and add extra elements to the site; and finally, I wasn’t in complete control just in case for some reason WordPress decided one day to shut me down… So all in all, I decided that if I was going to step change my site, be more in control of how I monetised and how my site worked and looked, it made sense to move to wordpress.org.
What’s the difference between the two?
Essentially, wordpress.com websites are hosted by WordPress themselves, which means that basically if they shut down as a company, or you were deemed to do something outside of the terms and conditions, your site will be gone. WordPress.org however, is software that you use to create and manage your site, however you completely own it yourself and host it elsewhere (I use Bluehost, the most common and popular option that’s very user friendly). If you want more thorough details then there’s a great article I found below that explains the pro’s and con’s.
What were your concerns?
The main worries and concerns for me making the switch from wordpress.com to wordpress.org, were firstly and mainly that all of my hard work building my blog on WordPress.com would be wasted and I’d lose all my followers and ability to be found through the WordPress reader…
Fortunately, none of these came to fruition and I was able to move the site across, and with the help of ‘jetpack’ which is a WordPress plugin that essentially allows the same functionality as wordpress.com for followers etc, I still have the same followers and can be found through the WordPress reader. I also use the same interface for writing and uploading posts etc now I have jetpack so it’s meant not as much has changed as I originally thought. Also using Bluehost, with my plan, there is the option to add the free ‘https’ rather than just ‘http’ to your domain, so search engines would see the same website and links etc. This didn’t happen automatically and was a slightly non-smooth procedure but I got there in the end.
How easy was the move?
Overall, the move wasn’t as tedious as expected. However, there will be multiple ongoing teething issues that will crop up after you move, with certain things no longer working as expected that you’ll need to trouble shoot, which is a bit of a pain! For the basic move I did some research from various sources and the best step by step that leads you through the basics of what you need to do is actually made by WordPress themselves linked below.
I thought I’d have to manually move all of my content, but you can export it all then import it to your new host relatively easily (some small things might not move across like the odd picture etc, but this could have just been my not doing it quite right), if you’re lucky all your content will move across nicely.
There were a couple of hiccups that I encountered, such as the above. Also annoyingly setting up a Bluehost account linking to WordPress, it created 2 ‘users’ that were both me. So I had to reassign each post to be written by the original ‘me’ manually, and I can’t see a way of putting these two into just one user, as wordpress.com and Bluehost are different accounts.
When getting the SSL certificate, (https) through Bluehost, this didn’t happen automatically or properly straight away, I was shown a ‘pending’ for hours and I had to get technical support from Bluehost, during which my website wasn’t accessible through some browsers because it was just ‘http’.
The other slightly irritating aspect is that transferring the domain from yourself to yourself (I’m being facetious, moving it from wordpress.com to Bluehost or your new host) takes 5 working days, for reasons that seem pretty unknown for me. I thought having read things online, I could speed up the process and just got myself locked out of WordPress before having to get more customer support to reverse what I’d done!
Further to this I’m still having slight issues and aren’t too sure on how posts are shared and seen through the wordpress reader… I believe that only my followers will now see my posts, not everyone, which is a bit of a downside! So with this being the case, I’ll need to be more proactive in finding readers for my site if I can’t be discovered this way, and would offer warning for any brand new blogs without followers yet.
Are you happy with the result?
All in all though, the process (apart from the hiccups above) was simpler than I originally thought, although yes a bit stressful at times. I’m much happier with how my site looks and it’s functionality, although it’s very much the bare bones of how I want it to eventually be with improvements here and there and better functionality etc.
The cost isn’t too expensive, but it can soon add up… If you want to get the full features of the theme you select with WordPress this will cost money. If you want any other jetpack plan other than the free one this will cost money. If you want certain plugins too, these will cost money. Etc etc. The more you want to do with your site the more different things you may need to pay out for and it can quickly seem like you’re losing track or what you’re spending on what.
Overall however (although yes it’s very early days having just moved over), I’m really happy with the result now the process is done, and I’m looking forward to adding the extra features I want to, further improving the site, adding features, and seeing how the revenue from ads will be different than through WordAds sharing it with WordPress. I had a few bumps along the way but these were fairly simply resolved through talking to support staff, and I’m sure others will have slightly different issues that come up, so if you’ve got other experiences or advice to add then please pop it in the comments.
If you’ve got any questions about the whole process, let me know, and finally I’d love to hear what you think about the new site!
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